Written by d_k_c :: [Sunday, 11 June 2017 22:42] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 02 July 2017 11:30]
Some time in the near future …
Chapter 1 Mild and mannered
Maria Bojnec had taught at St. Kevin’s for nearly a full year. She was one of the youngest teachers there, and when she spoke, the students listened. It wasn’t because her voice was stern or aggressive, it was quite the opposite. Her voice was melodic, sweet, and pleasant sounding. It certainly didn’t hurt that she was beautiful as well. Standing at 5ft6” and with shoulder length light brown hair, and even browner eyes, Maria had a soft complexion and a perfect smile, she was the living embodiment of Disney’s Belle. And just like the stereo typical character she seemed just as sweet, innocent, caring, and compassionate. No one would have ever suspected her of being her alter ego.
Maria was at the caulk board writing a sentence. Although it was still called a chalk board it was more like a giant-sized tablet. Maria was speaking to the class when she paused briefly, she used her fingertips to brush her hair overtop of her ear and she listened in on the conversation occurring outside her door. A feeling of relief washed over her as she listened in, and learned what the visit was about. Principal Phillips walked into her class with a student teacher, Maria was surprised to see who that teacher was. She believed she remembered him, but the odds of her seeing him again seemed so slight that it cast doubt on her certainty. It was her first high school crush from so many years ago. Her heart beat a little faster, her eye’s widened as she felt her heart sink. She couldn’t tell if it was from anxiety or excitement, if she liked that fact that he was here or she dreaded it. As soon as they made eye contact, she knew it was him. She couldn't help but wonder, would he remember her?
“Class” The principle said, and the grade 5 students came to attention. “This is Mr. Nunez, he will be replacing Mr. Carter and will be teaching you Social studies and Gym for the rest of the school year. Please give him the same respect and attention as you’ve given Miss Bojnec.”
Ben looked at Miss Bojnec and went to shake her hand, if she was familiar to him, he gave no indication. Maria reached out and delicately shook his hand.
“Ben” he said referencing his name.
“Maria” She said as she continued to stare into his eyes. Then, for a fleeting moment, there seemed to be a hint of familiarity as Ben combined the names Maria and Bojnec in his head. Maria Bojnec was a very memorable name at his old high school, back in the east coast. Popular, but for all the wrong reasons.
Maria’s anxiety levels had been in overdrive, especially as of late. She was suspicious of everything. Things in her life had become out of control, she was on the run, she was paranoid of everything and she had become an addict, but not in the way the name necessarily implies.
The introduction to the class was brief. Principle Phillips and Mr. Nunez left nearly as quick as they arrived. Maria was distracted with a plethora of thoughts and emotions. Did Ben recognize her? Why was he here? Was it just some major coincidence? And she couldn’t help but concede that he looked just as, if not more handsome, than she remembered. Briefly the thought of her forming a relationship with him was interrupted with what she had done, and the sheer magnitude of what was up against her.
The school bell rang and ended the school day. Maria stayed behind and spent some time with some struggling students, when she was finally done, she packed her bag and was about to leave for the day. As soon as she got to the classroom door, a tall and well built Asian man walked into her class. She recognized him immediately. It was a reporter named Harry Chim from the news.
“Hi, I’m Harry Chim with Global news” he confirmed, “can we talk?”
“Ummm sure” Maria said with uncertainty.
“I don’t know if you watch Global news, or are familiar…”
“I do, and I am”
Harry smiled politely, he had a friendly smile and it put Maria at ease. “So, every now and then we like to report on feel good stories. You know, with all the bad news in the world today sometimes its nice to see people doing good in the world”
Maria smiled, “Okay So, how can I help you?”
“The principle gave me your name and explained all the good you do in the school, I’d like to do a segment on you”
Maria nodded politely, but the last thing she wanted was to attract attention to herself, not after what she had done. “I’m flattered, I really am. But I’m afraid I have to decline.”
“May I ask why?”
“I think that there are other teachers here who…”
“I couldn’t imagine another teacher here who’s more deserving than you are”
There was a knock at the class room door. Maria looked over Mr. Chim’s shoulder and saw Ben.
“Are you free?” Ben politely asked.
Maria’s eye looked politely into Mr. Chim’s “If you’ll excuse me Mr. Chim, I’m meeting with a new teacher. Good luck with your report” Maria shook his hand, but now when she looked at him this time she saw a familiarity that went beyond his popularity on Global news.
Harry Chim looked back at Ben and then smiled politely flashing his perfectly white teeth “I hope you reconsider.” With that he left her his card.
Maria watched Mr. Chim leave and then looked at Ben, “What can I do for you Mr. Nunez?”
Ben looked at her with a curious smile, “Do you know me?”
“Do I know you? That’s an interesting first question. Do you know me?”
“I think so, but you’ve… changed so much”
Maria turned around and grabbed her purse as she thought about what she wanted to say to Ben. She conceded that if he didn’t know who she was already, he’d know soon enough. “Look Ben, I’ve really tried to start a new life for myself…I don’t….”
“I would never tell anyone about…that. I was actually wondering if you’d like to catch up, you know, as old friends”
“We were friends?” Maria asked raising her eyebrows.
“As old class mates, then?”
Maria smiled “Maybe..”
“How about Bistro’s for six?”
Maria smiled “The Patio?”
Ben smiled “I’ll make the arrangements”
Maria collected her things and began walking to the classroom door trying to hide the hint of a smile. She walked out into the hallway and was about to leave when she noticed Mr. Chim who was sitting on a bench taking notes, not far from her classroom. She paid little attention to him as she left.
Maria stepped outside and began her walk home. She couldn’t help but look at the cranes off in the distance repairing east downtown, and installing giant air raid sirens on every 12th building. It was a daily reminder of what she had done. She couldn’t help but feel guilty for what happened and the lives that were lost. It was never supposed to go down this way and now because of it she lived in a continuous state of paranoia.
Chapter 2 All in the Past
Maria was very different in her youth. She was an immigrant child who had recently come to America from Serbia with her mother and baby sister. In elementary school, she mostly kept to herself, she didn’t have many friends and her English was broken. Maria was slightly over weight and her hair was often out of place despite her best efforts. At times, she was teased and bullied, but bullying had taken on a whole new meaning after the event. And by the event, I mean Dominoes day.
They called it that for more than one reason. The comet that hit the atmosphere was rectangular shaped and had grooves in it like that of a domino which represented the numbers 3 and 6. But further to that, the pulse that it emitted when it blew high in the atmosphere caused tens of thousands of people across the world to stiffen then fall face first much like a domino. When those people that had been affected got back to their feet, they found that they had powers, and some far more incredible than others.
Maria, at the age of 11 and like so many across the globe had fallen face first, but unlike everyone else who had fallen, she didn’t experience change. No new abilities, powers, or feelings whatsoever. She never did tell anyone that she had fallen over when they asked her, and they eventually did. They asked everyone. The Government became increasingly uncomfortable with the situation and the gifts that many people had received.
It was estimated that one in ten thousand people were affected, some people’s powers ranging in strength from what the government dubbed category 1 to category 5. Category 1 being the weakest, and category 5 being the strongest. Much of the affected fell into category 1 and 2, but there were a few that were category 4 and a few rumored to be Cat 5.
While some people’s powers were extremely unique, the core powers which people seemed to exhibit, were Energy manipulation, Strength, Invulnerability, metabolism, telepathy, and telekinesis. While some people exhibited multiple powers, for the most part, the majority had only one power that could be categorized. As an example, if one of the affected could lift up to 1000 lbs, they were a cat 1. If they could lift between 1000 and 5000, they were a cat 2. 5000 to 15000 a cat 3. 15000 to 25000 a cat 4. And above 25000 a cat 5. That being said, nobody was a cat 5. The category was only created as a precaution. The categories were interpreted different for every power set, but the idea was more or less the same, the more powerful you were the higher your category.
At first the government tried to control them, they took the dominoes (At least that’s what they called them) into custody. Thousands were separated from their families. But only one year after the event, there was a shift in the administrations point of view. All dominoes who had been taken into custody were suddenly returned to their families. The government’s position had abruptly changed and had adopted an entirely different view point on the dominoes. Rumours circulated that the dominoes had fought back, more specifically certain dominoes who had incredible strength and power, some speculated maybe a cat 5. intimidated the government and forced them into making some form of agreement. Regardless, The Government passed legislation so that dominoes could live as they once did, but they did need to register themselves and their category be interpreted and logged.
And so, a few students who had been initially taken, returned to Maria’s school. Not only that, but other gifted students that had suppressed their powers began using them in public. Becky was one of them. She hid her powers like many of the Dominoes after the event, but after she registered herself as cat. 3 Telekinetic she began showing off her powers.
Before anyone ever knew she was a domino she used to tease Maria, made fun of Maria when she fell, which happened quite often. Maria could never understand it, but whenever she crossed the transition metal strip which separated the classroom from the hallway, she’d trip. It happened so often that Maria would try jumping the tiny strip or hugging the side of the wall, which caused other students to laugh at her. When Becky had finally revealed that she was a domino and that one of her powers was telekinesis, Maria clued into the fact that Becky had been doing this to her the whole time. The worst part was that teachers tentatively advised gifted children to refrain from using their powers to bully or harass other students. But they too were concerned of what might happen to them if they upset a domino. Becky was only 12, but at cat.3 she could easily crush, snap, disconnect or pulverise every bone in a human body with just her will.
Many people were jealous of the dominoes, but you'd be hard pressed to find one more jealous or bitter than Maria. Every time she’d see one showing off their gifts it’d drive her past the point of mere frustration. She hated how much attention they got, how easy life was for them. Especially the higher cat’s. They could use their powers however they pleased and would avoid even so much as a lecture, after all who would mess with a cat 3? But Maria was especially bitter that she didn’t have any abilities, despite being affected by the event like every one of them. She had fallen, face first, just like everyone who had received their gifts … and she had none of them.
It wasn’t until high school, that life became a little easier for her and her bitterness eased. She had eventually grown into her features, Maria was taller and prettier, but remained somewhat quiet and shy. Regardless, boys began taking a liking to her.
But there was one particular boy, Ben Nunez, that she had taken a particular liking to. He was smart, athletic, charming and especially nice to her. Maria secretly stalked him, although that’s not what she’d call it, more like tactically positioning herself so that they’d run into one another. She believed he liked her and enjoyed how they always made eye contact as they passed one another in the hallway.
One day, only days before midterms, she was studying in the library during lunch hour when she noticed Ben. His back was turned to him, but she kept her eye on him. When lunch hour ended, students filed out of the library to get to class, all except Ben who continued studying. Maria noticed that she was alone in the library with him, so she decided to cut class. This was a perfect opportunity to bump into him, maybe even study together, and from there who knows. Maria was building up her courage to make the bold move when Melisa walked into the library. Maria stayed quiet and watched from a distance.
Melisa was a beautiful red head, she had long curly bright red hair. Perfectly positioned light freckles, almost as if they were deliberately positioned symmetrically on her face. She was toned, maybe a little too toned for how much junk food she liked to eat. Melisa was wearing a low cut, tight, black and white ribbed sweater and white yoga pants. “Are you always studying?” she asked Ben in such a way that suggested she could care less.
Ben smiled but continued to look at his books, “You know midterms are like days away, right?”
“Sure” Melisa agreed flirtatiously as she flicked some of her red hair back. “But that doesn’t mean we should study every waking second, does it? We should be allowed to have some fun, shouldn’t we?.” Melisa put her palms on Ben’s desk and straitened her elbows while leaning downwards, revealing her impressive cleavage.
Ben looked up, and then looked back at his book “Not now.”
Melisa smiled, her breasts expanded slightly. “How about now?”
Maria watched with fascination, as she wondered desperately if Melisa just willed her breasts to grow.
Ben shook his head, “Jesus Melissa. We’re in the library!”
Melisa pouted and then made her breasts expand. Her sweater expanded dramatically showing off her smooth white cleavage. Her nipples tenting from the tight confines of her ever-stretching sweater. “Last chance” she sang.
Maria watched in shock as Melisa clearly made her body, specifically her breasts, grow to impressive proportions. Ben looked up to see a valley of cleavage before him. Ben hadn’t reacted with absolute shock, he clearly was aware of Melisa’s abilities, and now he conceded to them. His hands reached out and he felt her breasts. Just as he did so, Melisa looked up and stared into Maria’s gazing eyes.
“Apparently, we have a creeper” Melisa said.
Ben let go of Melisa’s chest and turned around to see Maria hurrying to pack her bag.
Maria had to pass them to leave the library, “I was just leaving” she awkwardly stated as she hurried past them and left the library.
“Sure, you were … creep” Melisa stated as she passed.
As soon as Maria left the library she felt extreme embarrassment. Not soon after that, extreme jealousy. How could she ever compete when some girls could manipulate their bodies to look like any mans fantasy girl. Then she felt anger and contempt, fuck these dominoes, it isn’t fair! She had fallen just like everyone else. Why hadn’t she received powers? She paced quickly down the hallway, unsure of where she was going, she paced as she tried to control the thoughts running through her head. She approached a group of girls chatting in the hallway. She didn’t even notice them as she was lost in her own thoughts. She bumped into Becky, but continued walking, not realizing her transgression.
Becky had to stabilize herself to prevent herself from falling over as she watched Maria pass her without so much as an apology.
Maria was walking away quickly, walking near half lockers which lined the hallway. One of the half lockers opened suddenly, and compounded with her quick pace, the locker smashed into her face. It made a wicked smacking sound and Maria fell flat on her ass.
“You should watch where your going!” Becky called out and then started laughing.
Maria could feel her eyes watering as a sting ran along her nose and seemed to extend into her sinuses. She put her hand on her nose and could feel an unnatural movement to the rim of her nose and an awful crunching sound. She worried her nose was broken, she hurried to the washroom and when inside grabbed paper towel, where she painfully wiped the blood from her nose. Her nose was broken. It looked awful.
“Oh my god! Are you okay?” Becky said half laughing as she entered the washroom by herself. “You totally should look where your going next time.” She practically sang her words which made Maria furious.
Maria wasn’t one for swearing, but now she couldn’t help herself “You fucking bitch! You broke my …”
“Sorry, what was that?” Becky asked as she motioned her hand up and sent Maria flying into the washroom wall. Maria could feel an intense pressure all over her body as she remained pinned to the wall. And as Becky’s hand motioned upward, so did Maria’s body until it was pinned against the ceiling. Maria found it hard to breathe. She watched Becky below her looking in the mirror and pretentiously fix her eye lashes.
“S … s … ss … ss …” Maria tried to stammer out.
“I can’t hear you? What was that?” Becky asked, paying more attention to her own face than Maria who was struggling to breathe still pinned against the ceiling.
“S-S-Sorry!” Maria finally got out. As soon as she said it she fell to the ground, near Becky’s boots.
“Was that so hard?” Becky asked.
Maria caught her breath, and as she opened her eyes, she saw a tool kit. A plumber, or perhaps the janitor had left a tool kit underneath the sink. And sticking out from that kit was a thick steel wrench. Maria didn’t give herself even a moment to ponder her actions, she reached and grabbed the wrench.
Becky was leaving the washroom, she heard Maria getting up but didn’t consider for a moment that Maria would attack her. Nor did she consider that Maria was holding a weapon.
Maria swung with all the might she could muster, the pipe wrench arched in front of her, Maria could feel it’s weight. And even if she tried to stop herself, gravity had already made the decision for her. The pipe wrench cracked into Becky’s skull. She fell forward into the washroom door and then collapsed onto the floor. Maria heard her groan, and worried about the repercussions and wrath Becky would undoubtedly extend onto her if she came to. Maria swung again, this time a more calculated decision. And this time, when Maria connected, there was no need to worry about Becky coming to, she was most certainly dead.
Before Maria could dwell on what she had done, something strange began to happen. Maria was lambasted with memories. Memories of Becky discovering her powers, and using them. From the very first moment, until the very last. It felt good, better than good, it felt utterly euphoric. And when the feeling wore off, Maria realized that she had Becky’s powers.
As the euphoric feeling wore off, Maria well understood how much trouble she was in, and her anxieties returned. She walked nervously out of the bathroom, and then hurried to the next washroom down the hall, miraculously nobody noticed her. She cleaned herself up the best she could. She had blood stains all over her body, most of which were hers, but she didn’t see it that way. She heard the bathroom door open and some girls enter, so she entered a cubical and waited for them to leave. But even after they left, she remained in the cubical, contemplating, calculating. Not until the bell sounded to end the days classes did she finally come out. Police were already there, they were speaking to Leah, one of Becky’s friends in an empty classroom. Surely the police would look to question Maria.
It was Mid December and it was cold outside, the courtyard was filled with students eager to get home, and amongst them were police, questioning students and looking frantically for someone, probably her. They were all over the place. Maria’s heart raced, she thought desperately for a solution to her crisis. As she desperately sought her solution, one presented itself.
Melisa was waiting to cross the street, she was standing on a snow bank. Maria bet that killing Becky would result in gaining her powers. A thought crossed her mind, what if she had the power to shape shift? She could become someone else, go somewhere else and forget this Godforsaken day ever happened. A bus was about to pass Melissa when Maria slightly extended her hand and gave she gave Melisa a telekinetic push from about 50 yards away. Melisa slipped off the snow bank and slid onto the road just as a bus was passing. Screams echoed out as witnesses watched the horrifying scene.
Police ran toward the accident, and once again Maria could feel the sensation overwhelm her. As she closed her eyes and absorbed her essence, she saw for the first time when Melisa lengthened her hair. Modified her own body to suit her. This was it, this was her ticket out. When suddenly a firm hand grabbed her shoulder.
“Maria Bojnec?” a police officer asked.
Too scared to say anything different, Maria simply replied “Yes?”
The rest was a blur, she was read her rights and taken into custody. She was put in a youth home for violent teens until her trial. The prosecution wanted her trialed as an adult, but ultimately, she was trialed as a youth. Maria was convicted and sentenced to Youth jail where she would spend the rest of her teen years.
The jail was broken off into 5 wards from A to E, all with oddly particular names. Ward A was called Apples. Ward B was called Buttercup, Ward C was called Chocolate, D was called Dora and E was called Elements. Each ward had 10 teen girls within them, each wearing a baggy white shirt with a roman numeral on it. Maria had an X on the front of her shirt.
Maria never did use her powers to escape, she desperately worried that if she exposed the fact that she had telekinesis that she’d be suspected in Melisa’s murder as well.
In prison, she met Rose, who had been arrested for assaulting a Police officer amongst a plethora or other things. Rose had immediately taken a liking to Maria. Rose was shorter girl with a buzzed hair style, she had a mouth on her and quick wit. Maria and Rose had bonded during their time and became close friends.
While they didn’t have too much in common they both shared a mutual dislike for dominoes, even though technically Maria was one. Eventually though Maria shared with Rose what she was capable of, but not how she came across her powers.
They were both released on their 18th birthdays which coincidently were in the same month. They both moved to the west coast and lived in a tiny apartment together where Maria began going to school to get a teaching degree and Rose worked as an apprentice mechanic.
One day Rose found an interesting site on the deep web, it was a hit list for dominoes. It had their names, location, and not only what they did, but how much of a bounty there was for their death. Rose knew that Maria wasn't the type, but she half jokingly, suggested that Maria could snap some of these degenerate’s neck without anyone knowing and collect a handsome fee.
At the time, Maria would never be persuaded to commit murder, her life had improved dramatically after prison, but she always felt bad for what she done despite the gifts it brought.
As time passed she used her gift to make slight corrections to her body which made her very desirable. Shape shifting was not an easy process. Manipulating bones was terribly painful, and manipulating muscles made her feel ravenously hungry. So, although she could shape shift, it wasn’t as if she could change the color of her hair, or make herself into someone else without feeling excruciating pain. But, getting rid of some tummy fat or correcting her nose was well worth it. In college Maria was very particular when dating, but when Justin Kelly had asked her out, she couldn't say no.
He was incredibly nice to her, which Maria particularly found attractive. She was warned that he wasn't a nice guy, that he had beat up his ex, but got away with it due to his status on the football team. But Maria didn't believe the rumours, to her, Justin was a sweet guy who treated her like gold. And that continued up until the 3rd week of their relationship, when Justin's true colors emerged.
They say if you really want to see some one’s true colors get them wasted, without their inhibitions people’s unsuppressed personality traits begin to surface. After a huge football game win, Justin celebrated. His team drank, but not nearly as much as he did. Eventually he started to become obnoxious. He was rude to people including Maria, and flirted with other girls. Maria would have left a long time ago, but one of Justin’s teammates insisted that she stay to take Justin home.
By the time they got back to Justin’s place he was passed out. Using her telekinesis Maria was able to get Justin onto his feet, into his parent’s home and finally onto the couch.
Justin’s eyes wearily opened and his hand moved up her waist and onto her breast. “My parents aren’t home” he mumbled.
“Ugh, I don’t think so” Maria said disgusted as she grabbed his wrist and attempted to remove it from her chest. Her attempt to remove his hand was in vain, and he squeezed harder. “Ow! Justin Stop!”
“Oh c’mon, you love it”
Maria finally escaped his grip but his other arm wrapped around her waist. “Justin! I am not in the mood for this!”
“You’re my girl…You…You’re my girl” Justin said in a drunken stupor.
Maria was becoming frustrated as she tried to fight off his advances. “Justin! Fuck off!”
Justin grinded his teeth in anger as Maria intensified her desire to leave. “You want to play fucking rough!” Justin picked Maria up and slammed her to the couch, the back of her head hit the arm of the couch.
But Justin didn’t, his teeth were clenched, and his hands went to his belt as he quickly tried to undo it.
Maria extended an open hand and Justin froze. Then Maria raised her hand and Justin levitated in the air.
Justin looked at her with a cocky grin, “Oh, somebodies been keeping secrets. What now bitch? You going to keep me up here forever?”
Maria’s eyes narrowed, “Justin, don’t make me hurt you!”
“You do your worst, and I’ll do mine”
Maria focused on crushing Justin, not enough to kill him, but certainly enough to make him think twice.
Justin could feel pressure around his body, “Mmm a little lower” he teased.
Justin could feel the pressure build up, much greater than before. He grunted and growled like a caged animal as Maria continued increasing the pressure. A normal human being would have been crushed but Justin continued to grunt and as the pressure began to ease, he began to laugh.
Maria felt exhausted trying to crush Justin, she had to relent. Justin smiled as his feet touched the ground. “Oh, do I have something I’m going to share with you” Justin stated menacingly.
Maria quickly got off the couch and ran into the kitchen, Justin pursued. As soon as he turned the corner, Maria had been waiting and cracked him in the groin with her knee. Maria gasped in pain. She felt as though she slammed her knee into a car door.
Justin smiled, “You’re not the only one whose keeping secrets.” He pulled his pants down and then grinned “now your going to have to kiss them better.”
Butcher knives slid out of their sleeves and then darted toward Justin. The blades struck him with speed and precision, not one of them leaving a mark on his body. The knives fell to the ground, bent, or snapped from their handles onto the floor.
Justin chased her once more.
Maria panicked as she opened the back door, and Justin pursued her outside. Justin chased her toward the pool where he finally caught up to her. He approached her quickly from behind and caught her, but his speed and momentum caused them both to fall in the pool. Maria surfaced and tried to pull herself up, but Justin was swimming toward her quickly. Maria extended her hand, and Justin froze.
He smiled at her, “We already did this, remember?”
Maria was panting This time instead of crushing him, Maria moved her hand downwards. Justin panicked as he submerged under water. Maria didn’t strain herself this time, she simply focused on keeping Justin submerged. Within a minute, he stopped moving completely. But Maria knew he was pretending. She continued holding him underwater until he began to thrash violently, desperately trying to get a breath.
Suddenly, Maria could feel his powers coursing into her. It felt so wonderful, feeling his essence inside of her. She could feel his excitement the first time he found out he was invulnerable. His joy when he first showed off his showed off his powers. She even felt his anxieties the first time he was brave enough to shoot his foot with a gun, and the satisfaction he felt when people broke their fists against his body. The burst of mixed emotions was powerfully euphoric. Like some sort ecstatic drug, Maria’s eyes rolled back as she enjoyed the sensation.
Maria pulled herself out of the pool, the chilly breeze didn’t make her shiver despite being soaking wet. She thought up a story, that her and Justin had both had several of drinks. That they both went to the pool. She’d tell them, that she decided to come back inside, but Justin decided to stay in the pool and that was the last time she saw him. She cleaned up the knives on the floor and a plant that had tipped when they had chased around the house. She lay on the couch, Sleepless. At 6 in the morning she called paramedics.
Justin’s death had been ruled accidental, despite the authorities many questions. There were no wounds or bruises on Justin’s body. The autopsy report indicated that Justin alcohol content was .45. His death was considered accidental. In conclusion, the coronaries office reported that Justin had passed out in the pool, and died due to drowning.
Maria received several of condolences for weeks after Justin’s death. The incident traumatized Maria, but not in the way most people thought. One of Justin’s ex’s said, “I’m glad that fucker is dead!” as she walked past Maria. Maria felt that the provocative statement was meant to upset her, it certainly didn’t. One thing was certain, Justin had victimized others.
That same week, while watching TV with Rose on the couch, there was a warning for girls in the area, apparently, a domino who could sedate women with his breath had raped dozens of girls in the area.
Her negative experiences with Dominoes mounted.
While having some drinks with Rose, Maria brought up the web site that Rose had suggested so long ago.
“Your kidding, right?” Rose asked remembering exactly what Maria was talking about.
Maria thought for a little bit, casting away her moment of doubt she continued “I was thinking about it, there are some dominoes out there that do real harm. What if I can do something about it?”
Rose smiled awkwardly, “We’re talking about killing people. We’re talking about jail for the rest of your life!”
“We would only kill bad people…right?” Maria asked.
“Yeah but, the law doesn’t distinguish between the two…Murder is murder”
Maria nodded, “Okay…forget I said anything”
Rose thought about it, and after a lengthy pause she got her laptop out “Lets just look at the website” Rose punched in her access code and viewed a hit list.
“You have an actual access code to this site?”
Rose shrugged, “I was curious.”
Maria watched as Rose scrolled through the website, “Wait, what about him?”
Rose looked at the target, “No no, that’s a category 3 target.”
“What he do?”
“Just says he was an assassin, rewards pretty nice 50 000 bitcoins”
“Is that a lot?”
“Oh fore sure … Ummm at least I think it is”
Maria nodded as she looked at the profile, “Screw it, lets do it”
“Are you serious?”
“You need to think about this”
“Honestly Rose, I’m sick of these people thinking they can do whatever they want. We’re doing this.”
Rose nodded, and then smiled “Alright Lunger … Lets do it.”
Chapter 3 A New Persona
After being provided a brief description of what Maria intended to change herself into Rose went shopping and to get food, lots of it, she knew Maria would need it after what she was attempting to do. Shapeshifting was not at all an easy process. Muscle definition, boob size was relatively easy but any manipulation to bone structure caused extreme pain. It would also cause her to become ravenously hungry. Maria made herself taller, which hurt, a lot. She gave her self a wicked six pack which gave her severe cramps. Her legs became more muscular and longer, which felt strange. She changed her eyebrows to look more intimidating and her lips and cheek bones to look more dangerous looking, but perhaps made her look that much sultrier.
Maria was impressed with her imaginative beauty. She couldn’t help wondering though if perhaps she was still recognizable. She couldn’t change her eye color, or hair color and try as she might to remove any suggestion she looked like her alter ego, she still saw a hint of familiarity. But there was something she hadn’t enhanced yet that would surely fool people. She bit her lower lip as she looked down at her chest. She had changed them before, only to make them firmer and rounder, now she was tempted to push boundaries. Besides, she thought, if it didn’t look good she could always make them smaller.
Maria couldn’t help but smirk as she willed her breasts to grow. Her soft flesh began to push against her bra. The straps now straining to contain her impressive proportions. And as the straps began to strain the bra popped off with a wicked snap. Maria grinned and then looked at the mirror as she continued to will her breasts to grow. She looked impossibly hot. Having the body of a dancer combined with that of a fitness instructor.
At no point did her body in anyway represent masculinity, her arms while strong and fit were slender and feminine. Her shoulders were broader, but only comparably speaking. Her belly was flat and gave only a slight impression she had a six pack. Her olive, silky and unblemished skin, spread like an hour glass around her navel. Her hips had become curved and synced with her rounded spherical buttocks. Her body silhouetted into a perfect hour glass figure. Maria believed herself to be a beautiful woman, but what she was staring at now, was a mind numbing, neck turning, tantalizingly gorgeous woman.
The process took sometime, and once Maria was comfortable with how she looked, she reverted to her old self. Then she changed backed into the sultry goddess she had conjured and then back to her old self. Every time she changed, it made the time after easier, almost like muscle memory. She changed back and forth for nearly an hour.
“I’m back!” Rose called out as she laid down 3 full bags of McDonalds on the counter. She was also carrying several of shopping bags. “I have something for you” she called from the kitchen as she laid the food out. Rose walked to the washroom with a bag of clothes and knocked on the washroom door.
Maria opened the door but only enough for her arm to take what Rose was holding. Maria closed the door and looked through the clothes, from yoga pants, leather pant jeggings, to crop tops, to shirts and sweaters she was excited to see what she looked like in them. And then she pulled out a black one-piece bathing suit with Darth Vader graphics on it. “Are you kidding me?” She said loud enough for Rose to hear.
Rose smiled knowing exactly what Maria was looking at “What?! It’ll be awesome! Put it on and come get some food”
A few minutes later, Maria exited the washroom as her new persona.
Rose had stuffed her face with fries, some fell out of her mouth as she looked at Maria “I would totally want get murdered by you. Honestly, I would get murdered by you anytime! You look mind blowing!”
Maria had opted to reveal herself in the one-piece bathing suit “Oh shut up” Maria said playfully. “And, do you really think I’m going to wear this?” Maria asked as she looked down at the low cut one piece swim suit.
“Your fucking Vader bitch! I was at Walmart and I was passing these swimsuits, they had c3p0 r2d2 and then I saw Vader … and I was like yup that’s the one. Even came with a black cape”
“So I noticed” Maria said as she sat down and grabbed a big mac. She unwrapped it and was about to eat when she noticed that Rose was staring at her chest the whole time, “Their too big?....Aren’t they?.”
“Maria! I’m getting an erection right now, and I don’t even have a penis! You look out of this world hot! Like an evil Ariel from little mermaid … Actually come to think about it, You kind of look like Jen. But with way bigger tits”
“I look nothing like Jen!” Maria argued. Jen was one of the most popular superhero’s in the city. She was one of the few heroes that can do it all. From flying, to Super strength, invulnerability to laser eyes, Jen was thought to be a category 4 Domino not only because of how many powers she had, but because of how powerful each of her powers were. “First of all, Jen’s got red hair, mines clearly brown. Second …”
Rose smiled as Maria delayed “Second?”
“My boobs are way bigger than hers”
Rose started laughing and then watched Maria start working on her third burger “Explain to me again how you don’t get fat?”
Maria began talking with her mouth full, “I’m guessing shapeshifting burns a tonne of calories because every time I do it I feel like I haven’t eaten for days.” By the time Maria was done eating she had eaten 3 big macs, 6 cheese burgers, a large-fries and a strawberry milkshake. The only reason why she stopped was because they were out of food.
Rose grabbed the laptop, “Okay, I thought of the perfect name for you, your going to love it!”
“If it’s anything like this swimsuit you bought me I suspect I wont, let me guess, Darth Maria?”
“Way more clever than that” Rose said concededly. “Remember the subgroup we were in, in prison?”
“And what number were you?”
Rose smiled “How about Element X?”
Maria didn’t react but then a hint of a smile showed on her face.
“You love it don’t you?” Rose said excitedly
“It’s not terrible”
“Okay, so now I just need to find an agent. And we can do this. I’m kind of getting nervous, are we really going to do this?”
Maria nodded, “If you don’t back out, I won’t.”
“Okay, tomorrow I’ll make some calls to some of the website referrals. Get an agent, and were off. As long as you are still comfortable with the target you selected”
Maria thought for a while, “Why do we need an agent?”
“Do you know how or where to cash in Bit coin? We need like a third-party person we can go through, collect, exchange and wash the money.”
“You’ve given this some thought” Maria stated suspiciously and then immediately changed the subject to her attire. “Oh…and no way I’m wearing this, I’m pretty sure everyone is going to notice a girl walking around in a Darth Vader bathing suit.”
Rose rolled her eyes “Whatever, have it your way.”
Chapter 4 First assignment
Elle was wearing black vinyl leggings, a blue crop top which exposed her naval and a skinny black leather jacket. She wore dark aviators and as every guy twisted their necks to see her, she had eyes for only one. His name was Mr. Jig and he didn’t look like much. He was a larger man, in a white suit. He had thinning dark hair, a square jaw and slanted eyes. He was eating with a woman, who certainly appeared out of his league. Elle watched her target smile at something the girl sitting next to him had said. If he was aware that there was a contract on his life, he certainly didn’t show it. He practically dared someone to come at him. To Elle, his confidence was either a sign of his obliviousness, or his confidence.
It seemed simple, all Elle had to do was walk past him, use her telekinetic power on his throat and snap his neck like a twig. She could bend metal with her mind, bone should be just that much easier. As she approached her strategy changed, perhaps she would wait for him take a bite of food and make him choke on it. But as the time fast approached for a decision to be made, doubt crept into her mind. She wasn’t a killer, she said to her self, countered by ‘well technically I am’. The difference being, on this occasion, it was far more deliberate. And really, what did she know about him? To top it off her anxieties started to go into over drive. Maria was so pre-occupied with her thoughts, she didn’t hear the cat calls, or sexual innuendo’s some men made as she walked by. Nor did she take notice of the luxury vehicle travelling in idol and matching her walking pace.
A fit native woman wearing a standard limo drivers outfit was trailing her in a Limousine, she communicated to Mr. Jig through telepathy. ‘There’s a tall dark-haired woman approaching you, the hot one, she intends to kill you’.
‘I see her’ Mr. Jig communicated through thought while casually taking a drink.
“Last chance” Elle thought as she was making her pass, ‘I am Element X’ she thought, ‘I AM ELEMENT X. I AM …’
Elle didn’t have time to finish the thought as Mr. Jig who chatted casually with the woman he was with, reached into his inside suit jacket. And as Elle contemplated her decision, Mr. Jig made it for her.
Mr. Jig quickly pulled out a glock and aimed it at Elle.
By the time Elle asked herself what had just happened, a series of gunshots erupted on the boulevard causing patrons to scramble for cover. The first bullet missed her so did the second, but the continuous semi automatic action of the weapon eventually found her. The first bullet hit her shoulder, followed by the second third and fourth pumping across her chest. In what seemed like nearly a minute, only seconds had passed and she had been shot 5 times.
The patrons and staff of the restaurant screamed and ran as panic ensued. Elle fell onto the sidewalk pavement. The bullets had hurt, she imagined they would, but not nearly as painful as this. Her only memory of getting shot was Justin’s, the day he wanted to find out if he could survive a bullet and he intentionally shot himself in the foot. He was using a .22 caliber bullet at the time, and he shot right into the top of his foot and it pinched but did not sting. But the glock’s higher caliber bullet slapping right into her chest certainly did, stung like hell. She grimaced in pain and then pulled her shirt away from her body to visually inspect the damage. Aside from a few minor red blemish’s on the top part of her perfect breasts, there wasn’t any.
Mr. Jig had stood up from his seat, and now Elle got an idea how menacingly large he was. He was furious. A railing separated the patio tables from the boulevard and he snapped it like a twig as he engaged her. “You fuckers never learn!” he said. “You want to fucking come at me! FUCKING COME AT ME!” Mr. Jig picked her up by the shoulders and then slammed her into the pavement. Elle’s head whiplashed and cracked into the pavement.
She tried to roll away but as most of her body rolled off the sidewalk curb, Mr. Jig smashed his foot down on her head. He curb-stomped the back of her head, her face cracked the granite in half. Mr. Jig was certain he killed her, any human would have succumbed to the massive hit, but remarkably she was still moving.
Elle tried to focus on him but his massive fist cracked her straight in the face. Her head turned, and then she doubled over as his massive fist struck her in the abdomen.
Mr. Jig hoisted her into the air and then launched her across the street as if she was a tennis ball. Her body collapsed around a fire hydrant. Again, Mr. Jig thought for certain that, that was the killing blow. But remarkably, she stood up. Aside from her outfit and her hair, he saw no damage or obvious injury to her, he didn’t even see agony in her face, instead the only expression that Mr. Jig saw was rage.
She was looking at him angrily, knowing that she took his best, it was time for him to take hers. Her fists were at her sides tightly clenched, her eyes narrowed and focused.
Now as Mr. Jig approached her, he felt a nervous. The woman was clearly unarmed, not so much as blade in her hand. Mr. Jig then wondered nervously how had she intended to kill him? And as if on cue, Mr. Jig’s feet involuntarily rose off the ground and his back began to bend backwards. He couldn’t prevent it. It was as if some force was bending him, as easily as a child would bend a playing card. As soon as he felt it his spine arching unnaturally, he pleaded with her. “Wait! WAIT!… I’ll triple … I’ll give you any … AGGH! WAIT AGGGGHHH!! WAIT!!!!! AAGGGGH!!!” … SNAP!
Elle could feel his power course through her body, she could feel his excitement when he first bench pressed five thousand pounds. Felt his rage when he crushed a mans skull with his bare hands or his satisfaction when he kicked a parked car off the road after it had boxed him in.
Elle’s eyes were closed as she absorbed the absolutely wonderful sensation, she hadn’t even noticed a car screech to a halt. Or the Indian woman stepping out with a fully automatic weapon.
Elle heard the loud whirring sound of the weapon. She didn’t even have time to react before the gun clicked to a halt. It felt like she had been shot with dozens of close range elastic bands. The Indian woman quickly reloaded when the door she was behind slammed in on her almost to a shut. Her internal organs smashed in on one another as her ribs collapsed. She fell to the ground withering in pain and watched in anger as the woman she had shot casually walk away.
Chapter 5 The killing Spree
“Were not doing this any more!” Rose insisted
“Are you kidding? Why not” Maria said in shock.
“Maria! I heard that you get shot! … It was all over the news! And can you tell me how you don’t even have a scratch on you?… And how the fuck do they know your name is Element X?”
Maria turned her head to the TV as they showed a very out of focus picture of her and listened as the TV announcer stated ‘A woman by the alias Element X is wanted for the death of Mr. Boris Jigonson’. “I have no idea?” Maria genuinely stated.
Rose rolled her eyes, she had too much on her mind. Too much she wanted to say. She looked at Maria and saw the holes in her clothes. “Jesus Christ! You were shot! But you don’t have a mark on you”
Maria told Rose a lot of things. But she saw no good in telling Rose that not only does she steal the powers of the Dominoes she kills, but it feels absolutely euphoric when she does it. “Trust me! I wasn’t shot! Look, we just won’t hit cat 3’s anymore. 2 or lower … Deal?”
Rose looked at Maria suspiciously, “This just doesn’t seem like you, it wasn’t too long ago that if you accidently killed a bug you’d lose sleep dwelling on it”
Maria knew Rose was right, and deep-down Maria felt conflicted. But she justified that conflict by reminding herself that she was providing a service, if anything she was killing monsters and not real-life people. Maria decided to give Rose a sniff of the truth. “You know how Justin drowned?”
“It’s not exactly true … I … I killed him”
Rose rolled her eyes, “You’re just being hard on yourself”
“Rose … We were in the pool and I used my powers to hold him under water until I knew he was dead.”
Rose was speechless, not knowing what to say.
Maria continued and started to become emotional, “No one knew, not even me. But Justin was a domino, he was drunk and tried to rape me. I used my powers on him, but they barely had any effect. We fought for a while in the house and I ran outside where we both fell into the pool. And I held him there, I held him below the water until I knew he was dead.”
Rose was shocked, it started to make sense. When they first met, they shared one commonality and that was their mutual hatred for Dominoes. “That fucker.”
“He had raped other women as well, and nobody would have done a thing about it, until he ran into me. Don’t you see, everybody is afraid to do anything about these people. But not me, not anymore. I now realize why I have these gifts, and it’s to protect people like us.”
“Us?” Rose questioned
“I mean … Like you”
Rose nodded her head. This time they both agreed that they’d avoid high profile targets, and focus on mainly category 1 maybe cat 2 targets.
These were simple and Element X made her way through them methodically. She choked out a man in a restaurant from 10 tables away. She felt Euphoric as his essence was absorbed by her. His power source was energy, and he had the ability of x-ray vision. As his essence poured into Maria, she felt his confusion and fear as a young teenager when he couldn’t help but stare into people, seeing only their skeletons. It took him awhile to master his powers, so that he could see just below the surface of clothes, or the other side of playing card, It was the latter that got him killed. In mere moments, Maria had absorbed his experiences and smiled as she walked away from the restaurant.
She drove behind one of her targets for some-time before they crossed a high levelled bridge. She simply turned the steering wheel. The occupant was a woman named Dana Lee, she had the ability to heal fast. But not fast enough, as her car veered into an oncoming semi killing her instantly before her car flipped over the bridge and into the water below.
She snapped a cable cord of a crane so that its content conveniently fell on her target. The man also had the ability of X-ray vision. She had gained x-ray vision two times over, now if she wasn’t careful a dirty look from her sexy eyes could give a person a nasty burn. She also compounded her telekinetic abilities and gained an unusual ability to blow, very hard. By pursing her lips she could focus her breath into a narrow freeze, or by opening her mouth and giving a hallow breath, she could give a deadly burn.
Every Domino she killed she gained power, and if she already had that power it would compound her existing power. And with every kill came that euphoric feeling, a feeling she became accustomed to crave, and yearn for.
Her powers grew. But with every kill the desire to kill again became that much stronger. As Maria Bojnec she was always kind sweet and patient, but her persona Element X had an entirely different personality. Element X was supremely confident, callous and sometimes mean. But she had to be, for the reasons why she existed relied upon those things.
Chapter 6 A Rose’s Perception
Rose had come along way since her time in juvenile. She worked out regularly, she ate healthy foods, and subsequently she looked fit and attractive. She was a catch for any guy, or the right kind of girl in her case. But Rose only had eyes for one. She fell in love with her the first moment she saw her. Rose and Maria had become good friends, and although they shared a mutual dislike for Dominoes, she found herself even more attracted to Maria once she found out that she was one.
Rose had been initially upset when she first found out Maria was a Domino, after-all why would a Domino talk so harshly about other Domino’s. Why lie about it? Not only that, but why would a Domino with Maria’s ability use a wrench to kill a girl? But perhaps what she felt Maria liked about her, was that Rose would ease off the questioning when she sensed Maria was growing uncomfortable. Rose didn’t like to be lied to, but she realized some of the question she asked would potentially force Maria to lie. So, she simply refrained from asking certain questions, and there were a lot of them. Especially when it came out that Maria had the ability to shape shift.
Rose had done her very best to restrain her feelings for Maria, knowing that Maria didn’t feel that same way. She watched Maria’s popularity soar in University. While Maria always invited Rose to come out with her and her friends, she knew right away she didn’t fit in. It was almost as if you needed a license in beauty to go anywhere with Maria and her friends. But, despite all of them being beautiful, they were all very nice, all of them super sweet girls, Rose would have dated any one of them.
The one advantage Rose did have while living with Maria and not revealing her true feelings, was the front row seat she got. Rose would be drinking coffee in the kitchen and Maria after having just woken up would walk to the fridge in just her bra and panties. Rose routinely looked at her perfectly rounded and pert ass while she bent over to reach for something low in the refrigerator. Sometimes Rose would make a comment which was sure to garner attention. “Your boobs are a bit droopy” she’d say knowing Maria could never be offended by the comment.
She’s simply turned to rose, and like two inflatable balls her breasts, grew, shaped or formed themselves to perfection.
“Better?” Maria would ask
“Much” Rose would reply
And despite Maria being knockout hot in the looks department, her personality was always super sweet. She volunteered all the time. She was fantastic with children. And most importantly she made time for her friend’s, especially Rose.
Often, Rose and Maria stayed up late watching a good movie on Netflix or whatever channel they eventually surfed to. While they never did have much in common, they routinely discussed their dislike for Dominoes.
One night while watching the news, they watched news of a Chinese Aircraft carrier that had gone missing, and Eve was the primary suspect. Eve was what they considered a category 4 Domino, maybe even a cat 5. She could practically do it all. Although she was short, and somewhat plain looking, she was a flying brick. And when Deturte, the President of the Philippines so many years ago had declared a war against drugs and all that use them, Eve had become his instrument, his weapon of mass destruction. She ravaged the island, indiscriminately killing dealers, user’s and corrupt cops. And she did it all in a blue, red and white, ultra tight-fitting body suit. Now, a decade later, she became the authority in the Philippine’s. She single-handily resolved the issue in the south China sea. She demanded more retribution from Japan for past war time sins. And she demanded retribution from the United States for what she called unfair trade practices. Her demands were backed with a simple suggestion, that she would visit the nation personally if they refused. Now the once, kind, docile country of the Philippine’s was becoming a military might in the region. All because of one girl.
They news broadcaster gave a bit of a synopsis of Eve showing her taking gun fire while displaying a coy smile. “She’s so hot!” Rose admitted.
“Oh my God, No! She should be re-named plain jane” Maria countered. “And I mean really, doesn’t it piss you off?”
“That she can do anything she wants, and nobody has the balls to stop her. An entire Aircraft carrier is missing, and she’s very likely is the reason. How many people are on an air craft carrier? Someone needs to have the balls to do something”
“Pretty sure you need more than balls to stop her”
“They break laws, they do whatever they want, and at worst, they get a slap on the wrist. It’s so frustrating.”
“Are we talking about Eve now…or Domino’s in general?”
“I’m just saying, there should be an authority who can keep these domino’s in check”
Rose giggled, “Do you know what kind of power that authority would need in order to do that? And who would make sure that the authority was held in check?”
Maria thought about it for a bit before abruptly changing the subject “I saw Jen today” Maria said.
Rose’s eyes lit up with interest as she thought about the local heroine “Really? Where?”
“I was on the Bus, and I saw her dealing with something. Not sure what it was. But, some guy honked at her. I don’t know if he did it to tell her to get out of the way, or to jeer at her. But she stops what she’s doing, walks over to the car, and kicks it. The car slides over to the curb and then rolls on its side”
Rose was practically dreamy eyed, “She’s got quite the temper”
“That’s my point” Maria argued “Just because you have power, doesn’t mean you can flaunt it or use it recklessly. I’m sure the guy in the car would want her to be charged with assault, or mischief or something … But will she be? God no!.”
“Was she wearing her costume?” Rose asked excitedly.
Maria rolled her eyes “Yes she was wearing the costume … But”
“You know it’s like indestructible, right?”
“Her clothes?” Maria questioned, “I doubt it”
“Totally, watched a thing on the news. There literally is nothing that can rip it”
“Seriously, I guess when the event happened the fragments that fell to earth were able to do some pretty wild things. It supposedly made from one of the fragments. You have to at least concede it’s a hot outfit?”
Maria thought about Jen’s excessively tight Red on the bottom, dark blue on the top, long sleeved leotard. Her red boots laced up all the way up to her knee’s. “Okay, she’s hot. The costumes hot. But I’m going somewhere with this.”
Rose got back on track “I completely agree with everything you’re saying, but Jen is a girl that does a lot of good for the city” Rose countered “So she gets a little pissed off when someone honks at her. At least she’s doing something. God knows there are way more douche bag’s then there are decent Dominoes. It’s nice that she tries to use her powers for good”
“Someone should do something” Maria said after a lengthy pause.
“Well, there is that website I talked to you about?” Rose suggested half jokingly.
Maria rolled her eyes. “Cause, I would ever do that”
The two girls would have similar conversations every second week or so, and then one day Maria’s attitude changed. Changed from simply talking, to wanting desperately to do something. Rose learned of what had happened to Maria with Justin, and was totally on board with the idea.
Maria had changed into Element X, or as Rose eventually started calling her, Elle. And if Maria looked like a model, Elle looked like a Goddess. There was a hint of familiarity, but Maria’s sweetness seemed to be hidden, Element X oozed sex appeal and danger.
And as Elle, Maria’s confidence soared to new levels.
But Maria’s own personality began to change as well, the personality change wasn’t overly drastic, but certain things only a sister, or a close friend and roommate would certainly notice. As Elle did her business, Maria became increasingly confident. At first Rose noticed that Maria’s bust size was larger, not to Element X proportions but certainly bigger. She walked with a certain swagger. Maria talked to people with a bit more command to her voice. And to her inner circle of friends, she became more of an alpha of the pack.
Rose was also suspicious of Maria’s abilities. She had hid that she was a Domino for quite sometime, her power was telekinesis and then a year later she revealed she could shape shift, albeit painfully. While living together they’d sometimes play fight and with all things being equal, Rose could wipe the floor with her. Recently though, that had most certainly changed. She remembered trying to kick Maria off the couch, her heel pushed into Maria’s thigh. Maria’s soft skin dimpled as Rose’s heel pressed hard into her leg. But as she pressed harder, she felt as though she was pushing against an immoveable object like a brick wall, Maria might as well have been a building. Only when Maria clued into the fact that Rose was exerting herself to kick her off the couch, did she fall off, and then playfully called Rose a jerk for her lark.
Rose was onto Maria. She didn’t know for certain, but she strongly suspected that Maria was growing stronger. She tried on a few occasions to get Maria to admit it, but Maria would always deflect. In many ways, the idea of Maria growing more powerful was a comforting one. Regardless of what these Dominoes had done, or what they were wanted for. Killing them was a capital offence. While Rose hadn’t killed anyone, she most certainly was an accomplice. In the back of her mind, she felt that Maria had her back. Rose was certain that Maria would never leave her hanging.
While Maria was out doing the dirty work, Rose was cautiously and obsessively meticulously planning. Her contact though, was anything but. Roy was the go between agent between Element X’s hits and her money. Roy was sketchy as fuck, and Rose always made sure she met him far from home. She met him at a park bench near the Aero plane museum just outside of the city. She’d literally take 3 modes of transportation just to meet him. She drove her car to the outside of the city, parked it in a city lot. She’d take the bus to a low-income condominium where she had a locked an old worn out bicycle. She biked the rest of the way. If she was being followed, she figured she’d know about it.
But, as the hits began to roll in, the money never did. And every time she asked Roy about it he’d always have some sort of excuse. Maria though, didn’t mind not getting paid, in fact she almost seemed to prefer it. Perhaps one less morale conundrum she needed to deal with. Still, the amount of money seemed copious and while Maria didn’t seem to mind, Rose did.
Chapter 7 A Night at the Club
Months had passed, and while the kill count reached nearly a dozen. Maria never did ask about the money, Rose eventually came to her. She had texted her asking, where Maria was and Maria had told her which mall she was at.
Maria was chatting with some of her friends from school at the mall’s concession area when she saw Rose. Maria’s friends knew Rose, and treated her nicely, but Rose didn’t like to hang around them. She didn’t feel she quite fit in with the group, and it didn’t help that she had a crush on practically every one of them. She just felt awkward just being around them. Rose walked up to the table.
“Hi Rose” Shannon politely said to her.
“Hi Shannon” Rose said before looking at Maria “Can I talk to you?”
“Yeah sure, I’ll be right back girls” Maria walked off with Rose before asking “What is it?”
“We might have a problem”
“Remember that guy I was telling you about, from the website …”
“I think so … The third party guy?”
“Yeah. We’ve got a problem with him. I need you to go talk to him. He’s on the other side of the Mall’s parking lot.”
“You want me to meet him now?” Maria asked.
Rose nodded her head “If you could”
Maria nodded “Okay”, she said and then walked in the direction where Rose had suggested he was.
Rose grabbed Maria’s wrist, “I think he wants to meet with Element X.”
“Right” Maria agreed. “How will I know who he is?”
“Take one look at his face, and you’ll know”
Maria went back to her friends and let them know she had to go. She then went to the washroom. After making sure no one was with her, she changed into Element X. Changing into Element X was all but muscle memory now, unfortunately her real memory wasn’t nearly as good as the familiar popping sound of her bra straps blowing could be noticeably heard. Otherwise, the clothes she was wearing survived the transformation. She was wearing a black sleeveless crop top which had an elongated collar, along with high waisted jeans and a black pair of shin high black boots. Elle reached around her back to gather and discard the ripped bra. She gave herself another look in the mirror. Element X was taller than Maria, so her jeans became tighter and showed a little more of her calves. The shirt Maria had worn was snug, but element X it was practically ready to burst. She left the washroom and headed to the parking lot.
While Maria got looks, Elle got stares. Jealous wives, envious girls, lustful men. Even in an outfit that hadn’t shown practically any skin, people couldn’t help but stare at her. While people looked at her Elle looked for the contact and found him almost immediately. He was a mid 30’s tall and lanky white guy. His face looked as though someone or some people did a number on him.
Elle approached him confidently, “You wanted to see me.”
“Is it really you?”
“What do you want?”
“How do I know it’s really you?”
Elle crossed her arms over her chest, “Do you really want me to show you?”
Roy shook his head and then paused to gather his thoughts before he began “Okay, so I owe V a lot of money and…”
“V?” Elle asked.
“Yeah, the girl I meet with, the one with the shorter haircut. She told me to call her V”
Elle almost smiled at the nick name Rose gave herself, in elements she was designated as 5 or V. “Go on”
“So, where I go to collect that money – they ain’t paying. And when I insisted for it, they sort did a number on me.”
Elle looked at him, her stare was intimidating and so he looked down “So what do you want me to do?”
“I figure, if you came with me. You know … Prove who you are, we can get paid”
“What’s your name?” Elle asked.
“Alright, Roy. Take me to them”
Roy nodded, “I rode my motor bike, and I don’t have a second helmet”
Elle smiled, “I think I’ll be okay.”
Elle got all the information she needed, told Roy to stay outside and she headed into the gentleman’s club. A group of bouncers patted her down. They were professional about it, and not one of them ogled her or gave her an inappropriate feel. When she stepped into the club she could see why the bouncers were so appropriate, all the girls there looked like something from either a magazine or was an Instagram bombshell with about a million followers.
“You Linda?” an older gentleman asked.
“I’m looking for Kenrick” Elle stated.
“Yeah, you and about every girl here” The man grabbed Elle’s arm and escorted her into the back. “The change room is over there. You have your own attire?”
The man rolled his eyes, “Ok, the bondage stuff is in that bin. The naughty stuff in those lockers, school girl-teacher is in that bin, but if you really want Kenrick to notice you, go with the super hero shit, it’s in the bin in the far corner. Kapeesh? I thought your resume said you were a blonde…whatever. Just remember 50% is yours, 50% is the houses. You’re going to make a fuck load kiddo.”
Elle didn’t bother correcting the man, it might be easier this way.
Other girls walked by her, checking her out, checking out the competition. Elle paid no attention to them, she walked to the end of the hall and then looked through some curtains, viewing the floor. She could see a man getting lap dance by two women simultaneously. Both women wearing super hero outfits. The man fit Kenrick’s description. But his security detail certainly confirmed his identity.
Briefly Elle thought about wearing a costume to get closer to him. But that was just Maria’s insecurities coming through, she had no need for a costume, unless of course it was bullet proof. Ruining her clothes on every outing was becoming expensive.
Elle walked towards Kenrick and the 5 large security guards who surrounded him. One of the security guards placed his arm on her shoulder. She stopped and looked at him.
A nerdy looking skinny middle-aged man near Kenrick, looked up and down Elle’s body. “She’s clear” he said, before giving her a creepy grin.
Unlike the other girls who would try to get close to Kenrick, Elle sat down across from him and stared. Kenrick was middle aged man, who had the demeanour of someone who didn’t have a care in the world. He was a good looking slim man in an overly expensive Armani suit.
Kenrick finally took notice of her, “I prefer my girls in costume, who are you supposed to be?”
Elle smiled “Element X”
Kenrick laughed, “Cute. But I don’t think this ensemble” he gestured to her outfit “quite works.”
“I think it works just fine. But I’m not here to talk about my clothes. One of my associates says you owe him money”
“His name is Roy. You did a number on his face as well, so I’m sure he’ll incur some medical expenses. I honestly doubt he has coverage”
Kenrick smiled and he looked around, he then waved off the dancers who were around him. He looked at Elle, trying to size her up before he spoke “Roy was trying to take credit for hits in which the people who died, died of natural causes. He’s lucky he’s not dead. But I confess, when somebody walks through a fairly large group of men, sits directly across from me and makes…how should I say … bold demands?”
“Bold?” Elle laughed “Oh sweetie, I haven’t even started”
Kenrick nodded, his hands formed a spade and then he flexed it as he thought, “So, either you are completely oblivious to the danger you are in … Or? You are in fact, Element X”
“What a clever person you are. You must be the leader”
Kenrick ignored her patronising tone, “Still, a bit of proof would be nice.”
Elle was emotionless as she placed her hands in front of her body. She rotated them so that her palms were upwards. “How’s this?” She asked as her fingers moved up. All five of the security detail grabbed their own throats as their bodies were picked up and suspended 8 feet in the air.
Kenrick watched all five of his security detail helplessly dangle in mid air.
The man who had initially winked at Elle reached into his suit jacket and point a 9mm pistol at her. Elle wasn’t particularly concerned, she warned him anyways “I wouldn’t” she practically sang.
Kenrick wasn’t nearly as nervous as his employee, who’s hand quivered as he pointed his fire arm at her.
Elle took the opportunity to explain Kenrick’s jeopardy. “Just so you know, for every bullet I’m hit with, I’m going to off one of your men. I see there’s seven people here, so I strongly advise that you don’t shoot me more than six times.
Kenrick nodded, “I accept your terms. Larry … shoot her once. Make it count”
Larry looked at Kenrick nervously, “Boss?”
“You heard me. Shoot her”
Larry swallowed and then aimed his weapon at her body. There was a loud pop!
An inch of fabric right above Elle’s right breast snapped upward revealing a bit of flesh. Kenrick even watched her breast wobble ever so briefly before he heard the bullet fall onto a table nearby
Elle closed her eyes as she grimaced slightly due to the sting, It felt as though someone had struck her with an elastic band at point black range, right on her breast. She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself. “Always the tits with you creep’s isn’t it?”
“You have my apologies, what do you want from me?” Kenrick asked in a calm manner.
Elle lowered the security detail, they moved around her as they looked at Kenrick for orders. Kenrick waved them off. “You’ll have to forgive my transgressions, I had no way of knowing it was you. The men Roy claimed to have been responsible for, all died of natural causes, or freak accidents”
“I snapped Mr. Jig in half, in front of dozens of people.”
“Yes, you did, but as far as I’m aware that was your debut. A sort of one off, that people like Roy would be smart enough to capitalize from. Not only that, the telepath you almost killed named you. Last thing she said before she slipped into a coma. So, no one really knew if that really was your name”
“Yeah, you know, the girl who you squished behind that door. She was a telepath, not to worry though, she was so fucked up after what you did to her, they had to induce into an artificial coma to repair her insides. Word is, she’s not getting out of a coma anytime soon.”
Elle reflected on the moment, ‘she was a telepath, that must be how she knew my name’.
“You’ll have to excuse me for not believing that Roy was your legitimate agent” Kenrick stated, snapping Elle out of her deep thought. You’ll get your money. I’ll throw Roy some money as well. And may I suggest something?”
“What if you forego the middle man and come work directly for me? I promise you, I can make it well worth your time”
Elle smiled, “Just pay me what you owe, if there was something else I wanted from you, I’d just take it.” Elle stood up from the lounge chair. “Oh, I nearly forgot. You shot me, didn’t you?”
Kenrick nodded “Would an additional financial compensation be acceptable?”
“Afraid not” Elle looked over at the man who had stared long and hard at her, who also had shot her. “Hey creep, care to have a staring contest?”
Larry had not been discreet as he ran his eyes over her body wile she talked with Kenrick. It was no secret, other than to people he had just met, that he was a Domino and that he had X- ray vision. Larry looked at Elle’s eyes as they squinted menacingly and then he covered his eyes, and fell onto his knees in agony.
Kenrick watched as Element X continued staring at Larry. He screamed fanatically as smoke began to billow out his head. Eventually his arms dropped to their sides, revealing his burned-out eyes before he fell dead.
Elle suspected he was Domino, but now she knew it. She closed her eyes as she absorbed his essence. Compounding her already powered up ability. She then smiled politely at Kenrick, “I’d say it’s been a pleasure but...”
While Kenrick’s bodyguards were terrified by what they just saw, Kenrick had never seen something so beautiful in his life. “Might I suggest something?”
“What?” Elle asked
“If I give the money to Roy, you’ll never see it again. Let me personally get the money, sit with me for an hour. I’ll add 20% to what I owe you.”
Elle didn’t even want the money, but if she didn’t collect it, Rose would have to. Elle reluctantly sat back down.
Kenrick signalled for drinks, soon after a Persian woman dressed as a Genie approached Elle. Kenrick watched as Jasmine moved in close to Elle, they were looking into one another’s eyes. “Full disclosure” Kenrick said, barely interrupting the moment. “Jasmine is a Domino, and one of her talents is that she can be quite suggestive.”
Elle heard what Kenrick said, but couldn’t be bothered by it. She continued looking into Jasmines dark eyes.
Jasmine’s finger tips rolled up Elle’s sides and glanced along the firmness of her breasts. Elle’s eyes closed as she more than enjoyed Jasmine’s soothing touch.
“Some other time Jasmine” Kenrick stated, snapping Elle out of her momentary lapse. “Sorry, if you aren’t used to her, she can be quite a handful.”
Elle took a few controlled breaths and then smiled at the waitress who brought her a margarita.
Chapter 8 Withdrawal
Meeting with Kenrick really shed light on how far down the rabbit hole Maria had sunk. She began asking herself if she had murdered these dominoes because they had done wrong. Or, was it because she loved how it felt?
Roy had gotten paid, and subsequently so did Rose. Kenrick provided her with a duffel bag filled with an enormous amount of money. Far more than the bounties she was owed. Rose gave a large sum of her money to an Aunt whom she trusted. In turn, her Aunt co-signed a loan for a quarter million dollars for Rose to open her very own mechanic shop.
Maria was given a large portion as well. She didn’t even want to look at it. If she spent even one of those dollars it would truly illustrate the monster she had become. She tried to reflect upon how did it come to this. Maybe this was all because of Becky. Never once did she feel remorse for bashing in Becky’s skull. Maybe that was the problem. Regardless, the murders needed to stop. She promised herself that from this day forward she would never kill another person. She was done.
She made it clear to Rose as well, she insisted that Rose have no further contact with Roy. The timing couldn’t be better as the LAPD created a Domino’s Task Force, supposedly being led by Jen herself.
Weeks had passed by, and life began returning to normal. They say it takes 72 hours to break most addictions, the rest of the time it’s a mental game. But for Maria she only started feeling addiction pangs after 72 days. Her hands would tremble. A bead of sweat would form on her head every hour or so and she felt anxious. Maria was only days from graduation, and she felt it increasingly difficult to study for finals. A girl named Penelope was in a quarter of her classes. She was a class one domino and her gift was that she could fly. It took every morale fiber in Maria’s being not to send her off course into power lines. Or, telekinetically snap her neck, it would be so easy.
While Maria always acted sweet, caring and innocent. She found herself hitting on people, she’d otherwise never consider hitting on. Like a moth to a flame, she began to involuntarily seek out Dominoes. She couldn’t identify if it was sexual or something far more nefarious.
At her graduation ceremony, Maria spent quite some time talking and drinking with a fellow student named Lee Hildebrant. He wasn’t particularly good looking, kind of an awkward guy who Maria doubted ever had a real girl friend. Maria had no idea why she was drawn to him. She almost found herself irresistibly attracted to him. She shrugged off his flirtations, but for whatever reason she couldn’t get him off her mind. Later that night when she tried to sleep, all she could think about was him. It was beyond ludicrous that she was attracted to him, what was wrong with her, she asked herself. But at three in the morning she relented. Maria got out of her bed, looked up Lee’s address in the school directory and went to his apartment.
She wore a form fitting plain grey t-shirt and black yoga pants and walked in the warm night to his place. She knocked at his apartment door and Lee opened the door almost immediately. “Maria?” He asked with genuine surprise “What are you doing here?”
Maria smiled, “I really don’t know. I couldn’t sleep, and figured maybe we can talk for a bit. I didn’t wake you? Did I?”
“No no, not all…Come in. I don’t sleep so I can always use the company”
“You don’t sleep?” Maria asked.
“No, I’m a domino … and one of my … Wait, you did know that I’m a domino, right?”
Maria was genuinely surprised, “Actually, I didn’t” but as Lee continued to talk Maria couldn’t help but wonder if she was drawn to him because he’s a domino. Was she some sort of starving vampire that could smell human blood from a mile away, or in this case a Domino. Was it, that she was attracted to killing him? rather than being attracted to him? Was she literally a monster?
Lee handed Maria a glass of Coke as Maria asked him a question “So, your power is that you can stay up late?”
Lee slightly laughed, “No, I guess my powers are related to the energy manipulation field. You see, When I’m out in the sun I feel re-energized. So, it’s practically impossible for me to go to sleep during the night, especially if I’ve been in the sun for too long.”
“Fascinating, so are you stronger in the sun?”
“No, well, maybe. It’s like I can bank the energy and draw from it another time. But, I did tear my acl, doctors said it would heal 8 to 12 weeks. But it was more like 8 to 12 days. So maybe I heal faster because of it. I’m really not sure”
Maria looked into his eyes, trying to determine what she felt. As he talked about his abilities, although quaint, her feelings became stronger for him. But she couldn’t determine if it was attraction. Maybe if she just slept with him, she’d stop feeling the angst. “I think your cute Lee”
“Really?” Lee said awkwardly.
“Yeah, I do. And I was curious, do you feel the same about me?”
“Uhh Yeah…you’re like one of the hottest girls in school”
“One of the hottest?” Maria asked giving him a deliberately playful annoyed look.
Lee smiled awkwardly, “You know what I mean”
“So, do you want to go to your room?”
Lee found her incredibly attractive, but nervous anxiety began to overwhelm him. He’d never kissed a girl before, never mind slept with one. “Don’t you think we should get to know each other first?”
“Okay, lets get to knowing each other?” Maria said as she attempted to take his hands and pull him from the couch.
Lee resisted, “It’s just that…I’ve never slept with a girl on a first date”
Maria didn’t know what to do, obviously sleeping with him was going to be extremely difficult, and killing him would be just wrong. But her desire for him, especially after he discussed his powers, seemed insatiable. “Look, I didn’t want to tell you this. It’s kind of the reason I stay away from guys and don’t really date”
“What is it?” Lee asked.
“I’m a domino as well”
“Really? What are your powers?”
“They’re really lame”
“Not lamer than mine, I bet”
Maria looked down at her chest, which was a modest C cup. “When I like a guy, my chest gets a bit bigger and firmer.”
“What? That can’t be true” Lee asked as his eyes went to her breasts.
“I know, sounds silly, but I’m telling you, right now my bra is about to explode”
To Lee’s surprise he could swear that her breasts were getting larger. The hollow snap of the bra strap all but confirmed it.
Maria reached behind her t shirt and removed the ripped bra. “Oh my god this is so embarrassing. I should really go.”
Maria’s chest pressed into the fabric of her tight shirt, outlining how perfectly shaped her breasts really were. Her nipples began to protrude centered on her expanding breasts, her shirt began to lift, showing off her sleek stomach. Lee had never been more turned on in his life. He grabbed her wrist and hurried her to his bedroom.
They kissed sloppily and Lee hurried to take her shirt off, Maria did the same with his pants. As soon as he took her shirt off Lee was like a deer in head lights. He stared at her rounded perfect breasts with dumb founded awe. Maria began guiding him, physically moving him so that she could attain a suitable position. He held her breasts while she pumped down on him, he squeezed them as hard as he could with out Maria realizing how much pressure he was applying. Then, not nearly a minute in, he gasped and then let out a squirming sound as he orgasmed.
“Oh, my god, that was incredible!” Lee said with blissful satisfaction.
Maria was annoyed, but she smiled politely.
“You’re absolutely amazing” Lee said as he moved in on her large breast and began to suckle on it”
“Thanks” Maria said, trying not to show her annoyance. “You’re not bad yourself.” Maria placed one hand on the back of Lee’s head and then began pushing his face into her breast. He didn’t react at first, but it didn’t take him long to realize that he couldn’t breathe. He tried pushing her away, but when that didn’t work he pulled her hair violently. When that had no affect, he bit down on her nipple as hard as he could and flailed desperately.
Maria could feel his desperate efforts, but he might as well have been a squirming baby. His violent death throes were entirely ineffective. Maria held him in place, asking herself repeatedly why she was doing what she was doing and then she felt it.
She gasped in pleasure as she could feel Lee’s essence fill her. His memories of the sun, and how it filled him with energy. How he felt stronger, rejuvenated and alert. Maria’s eyes rolled back as she felt the wonderful surge of unimaginable bliss and then the all too familiar feeling of regret.
She could justify in her mind killing a violent or wanted domino, but this was wrong. She knew it was wrong and yet she couldn’t stop herself. Was she addicted to killing dominoes? Was that even a possibility?
Chapter 9 Kenrick’s Surprise
Kenrick walked into an office building along side of an associate, when the receptionist stopped him. “Miss Rickard will be with you shortly, please have a seat.”
The assistant was new, and perhaps not fully aware of Kenrick’s and Miss Rickard’s association.
Kenrick’s associate began to speak up, “Perhaps you’re not aware of…”
“It’s fine Pascal, lets take a seat” Kenrick and Pascal sat down.
“You do realize what she’s up to? Don’t you?” Pascal asked.
“She’s always up to something.”
“You’re not concerned?”
“I could care less”
“So, you don’t think she’ll succeed?”
“Give Valerie enough time, she’ll succeed at damn well anything”
Pascal thought for a moment, wondering if Kenrick understood what he was talking about. “I’m talking about PIE, you know that, right?”
“I know all about PIE” Kenrick answered
“And still you’re not concerned?” Pascal waited for an answer before asking his next question. “You do know what it stands for? Right?”
“It stands for Proximity Induced Exchanger. And again, I don’t care”
“Well your competitors do care. And they are heavily invested”
“Good, let them be”
Pascal shook his head, “Sometimes I don’t know if it’s confidence or arrogance with you.”
“Miss Rickard will see you now” the secretary advised.
Kenrick stood up, “It’s a bit of both”
The two men walked into a laboratory and a woman in a lab coat approached them. She was a tall woman in her early thirties. She was an attractive woman, although somewhat skinny. She had light brown hair and bright blue eyes, she had stern cheek bones and a beauty mark on the right side of her cheek. She hugged Pascal immediately.
“Is he treating you right?” she asked him.
“He has his moments” Pascal said with a smile.
“Is it ready?” Kenrick asked in attempt to displace the pleasantries.
Valerie looked at Pascal, “Can I have a moment alone with Kenneth?”
“Of course,” Pascal said and then left.
Valerie looked at Kenrick “I’m not done, but I’m very close”
“Valerie I’m paying you a lot of money to …”
“And I’m almost there, just give me a month. Couple more weeks! Perhaps if you could provide me …”
“Stop it! How much money have I given you already, and God knows it’s not going to my project.”
“I can guarantee …”
“You know what Pascal talked to me about before we got here? PIE”
“I don’t know what your talking …”
“Give it up Val, if fucking Pascal knows, then everybody knows”
Valerie sighed, “How long have you known?”
“I have the situation handled”
“Do you? Cause I know your taking money from Neilson and Ponanie, and promising them both that you can transfer a Domino’s power into them. Imagine what might happen if they find out that you are working both of them?”
“Have you been spying on me!?” Valerie said in exasperation.
“You’re my ex wife…”
“That’s right! EX being the common denominator!”
“Doesn’t mean I still don’t care for you.” The sentiment was out of character for Kenrick and before Valerie could respond, he changed the subject “Just tell me the truth, are you getting anywhere with my project?”
Valerie paused for a moment, “Come with me.” She took him to a laptop and logged into it. “I think you’ll like this” she said as she loaded a video.
The video was of her behind a two-way mirror asking questions to a group of 12 people. Kenrick looked at the time stamp and saw that it was 6 hours long. “Jesus, I’m not going to watch 6 hours of this … Just give me the jist of it”
“I conducted experiments with 12 Domino’s. All of them were Cat 1’s. After subjecting them to the formula, 10 of them seemed receptive to suggestions. At first it was simple things, like raise your right hand. I offered a cash reward of 1000 dollars if they could tell me how often they raised their right hand. I asked them to raise their right arm 20 times. All but 2 of them said they never raised their right hand. I even hired one of them, she’s working for minimum wage. Have you met the new receptionist?”
“Show me?” Kenrick stated with fascination.
Valerie pulled out a small device, it looked like a miniature walkie talkie. “Look at the cctv screen” She said and then walked over to the wall, directly behind her secretary, she then spoke into the device, “You noticed the man sitting on the waiting couch”
Kenrick watched as the cctv video showed the secretary look at Pascal.
“You find him attractive”
Kenrick watched, but the secretary didn’t react.
Valerie then smiled mischievously as she clicked the mic and spoke again, “His presence gives you goose bumps, you know if you miss this opportunity you’ll never get another. You need to ask him for his number”
Kenrick watched in shock as the woman stood up and approached Pascal, she then began asking him something.
“It works” Kenrick said in astonishment.
“There’s a lot more that needs to go into it. For instance, If I suggested that she slap Pascal she might be able to resist it. Or she’ll slap Pascal, but her brain will identify, somehow that it’s being hijacked. And then the device becomes useless.
“Give me the device” Kenrick demanded.
“Give it a week, let me just make some alterations. I promise you, you won’t regret it”
Kenrick nodded and then looked at Valerie, specifically her chest.
Valerie looked down at her chest in her white lab coat and then looked at Kenrick “What is it?”
“It’s just that it doesn’t look like you got breast implants”
“Oh, for fuck sakes! Kenneth!, you have to stop spying on me!”
“I’ll see you in a week.”
Pascal was being hit on by Valerie’s assistant, she was practically all over him. He was about to tell him that they were leaving when Pascal pulled out his phone out and handed it to him.
“It’s for you” Pascal said before turning his attention to the assistant.
“Yeah” Kenrick stated. The man on the other line was an LAPD officer.
“Saw your man Roy was picked up by DTF agents earlier today. Thought you should know”
“What the fuck do they want with him?”
“How the fuck should I know?”
“Ok” Kenrick hung up the phone and looked at Pascal who was getting the assistance’s number, “Alright, lets go already”
Chapter 10 Into the Blender
Maria got a job at St. Kevin’s elementary school, it was a burst of some much-needed normalcy for Maria. A chance to try and forget what she had done and move on. But killing Lee, left her far more traumatized than she realized. She wanted to confide in Rose, tell her what she was going through, tell her everything but there was no way of knowing how she would react. Would she freak out? Would Rose turn her in? Maria was convinced that that’s what she would do if the situation was reversed. She internalized her anguish for a couple of months and then Rose suggested one last job.
It was mid-afternoon on a nice Sunday afternoon. They were watching Global news and listened to the reporter talk about a perpetrator. They called him Blender, and reports suggested that he had already raped 3 young individuals. The reported went on to suggest he was a Domino and that one of his powers was suggestive, or telepathic.
“Is it that these people were always monsters, or did Dominoes day somehow change them into monsters?” Maria felt compelled to ask.
There was a brief pause before Rose spoke “I know where he is.”
“How do you know where Blender is?” Maria asked perplexed.
“Roy called me on the burner phone, said there was a million-dollar bounty on this creep’s head. Not Bitcoin, but actual cash”
“You’re still talking with Roy!?” Maria said clearly agitated.
“I didn’t know who it was, he didn’t call from his usual line, and I just answered the phone for curiosity’s sake.” Rose could tell Maria was agitated, “forget I said anything”
There was a long pause, but Maria couldn’t help herself, “Where is he going to be?”
Rose struggled to give her that answer, “look, I didn’t tell you about this because I had a bad feeling. I thought, if this guy was so awful why haven’t I heard about him on the news. But, even now that I’ve heard about him. I still have an off feeling about this”
“You said the same about our first job”
“And I was right, wasn’t I?”
Maria nodded, “Okay, we make a deal, after this job, Element X is dead. We don’t speak of her, she’s permanently retired”
“Alright” Rose finally agreed. She gave Maria the details. He was supposedly hiding in an East downtown run-down apartment building. She looked through clothes intended for Element X. They were all ripped torn or stained. She sighed as she grabbed the one-piece Darth Vader bathing suit and pit it on. She put on black vinyl leggings and grabbed a thin black coat which Maria wore, but Element X had 0 chance of zipping it over her chest.
Rose loved it, “Vader bitch!”
“This all the clothes Element X has left, so good thing this is my last job”
“You look fucking wicked, good luck!”
Elle got there at around 2 PM and approached the 9-story run down condominium. It was an old brick building which was flanked by a much bigger, much newer office and residential buildings. Elle cautiously entered, the lights to the building were off and she couldn’t hear a sound. She used her X-ray vision to look through the floor boards, but couldn’t make out anything. Everything seemed quiet, way too quiet for her liking. East Downtown was filled with homeless people, she should have randomly run into one by now.
She walked up a dark flight of stairs, until she got to the 6th floor. She made her way through the hallway until she got to the room. Her x-ray vision confirmed that a man was sitting on a sofa motionless. Elle looked at the door, it wasn’t even locked. Her eyes closed briefly as even her confidence began to waver. She reminded herself who she was, she was bullet proof, she had unimaginable powers. She was Element X. She opened the door and stepped inside the room.
“Before you kill me, please, let me say my peace” a man said in an English accent.
“Blender?” she asked.
“I prefer Winston” the man said as he stood up and faced her.
“You raped three young girls …”
“No, I didn’t. If you’d let me explain. I am an artificial intelligence, state of the art. My consciousness is downloaded into an embryo, which manifests itself into this body. I am not a domino, I have no powers, my directive is to try to understand and further study human behavior, human interactions, sociology, psychology, I think you get the idea.”
Elle crossed her arms as her patience began to run out. “Well then, I guess that means that I after I kill you, we’ll have this conversation again”
“Indeed, but before we engage in such unpleasantries let me assure you. I’m here for you”
“You are, are you?” Elle asked.
“Your demeanor, tone and increased heart beat suggests I’m going to die soon. So, I’ll get to the point. The authorities have been desperately searching for you. They requested me because among some of my talents, I’ve been quite good at deciphering human behaviour. But, aside from me they also have enlisted the aid of Hiro, Jen, Damos, Clicks and Raze all of whom are in this building, awaiting your peaceful surrender”
Elle could feel her heart drop, “You’re lying.”
“There are also 26 DTF agents among them. All armed with 909 Slide-Hammers”
Elle was desperately looking for evidence of his statements. She looked around frantically with her x-ray vision. “You realize guns can’t hurt me? Right?”
“Yes, but I assure you these ones can. The new 909’s are a new technology, a type of rail gun designed specifically for people with your abilities. But I have no doubt you are less concerned with those and more with the individuals I’ve mentioned.” Winston could tell that her mind was working frantically. “Element X, no one is meant to get hurt. Most importantly you. I can already tell you’ve struggled with your conscience and the only way to get through it, is to own up for what you did, I promise you. You’ll feel better for it.”
Elle’s mind began playing tricks on her, she now thought she heard something from behind her. She wasn’t familiar with everyone that Blender had listed off, but she knew of 3 of them for sure. Hiro, Jen and Clicks. Each of them possessing category 4 abilities. “This isn’t true. I don’t believe you. You’d say anything.”
A woman in a form fitting blue and red leotard, floated in the room. Her knee high red boots touched down and she leaned across the doorway. “Believe it cup cake, the gig is up” Jen said cockily.
Hiro pulled away lead curtains and stepped out from the washroom, he wore a white and grey tight body suit with a cowl which covered half his face. “Element X, you are under arrest. Please don’t resist”
“No…Please do” Jen insisted still casually leaning against the door frame.
Winston began showing his first sign of agitation, “With all do respect to the ego’s in this room, I believe through negotiation, logic and compassion, Element X would accept the terms of her arrest. So, if you could all…”
Jen smiled and casually walked by Winston and toward Elle “We got it from here robot. So, what’s it going to be Element X? Prison or death?”
Winston could see the conflict in Element X’s eyes, “I find it peculiar that I was enlisted for the precise reason to avoid conflict, and you seem to be encouraging one”
Elle looked at Jen walking so arrogantly around her, almost triumphantly. It was infuriating her. Jail or death, that was a very good question indeed.
“Times up” Jen said and then grabbed Elle’s wrist.
“DON’T touch me” Elle said as she flung her arm upwards sending Jen backwards and through the wall.
“Shit” Winston muttered as he heard the crashing sound of Jens body going through a wall.
Hiro engaged Elle immediately, his punches were quick and powerful. He felt like he was hitting a solid steel wall, but like any steel wall he had hit before, he was doing damage. He had connected 5 times before Elle found her bearings and froze him in place with her telekinesis. Just as she was about to attempt to snap his limbs, she was kicked by a red boot in the lower spine. She snapped forward and her face drove deep into the old vinyl flooring.
Elle quickly got to her feet but then felt as though she was being hoisted into mid air by her hair. She couldn’t see the assailant but somebody was using telekinesis on her. Jen hit her with a vicious overhead punch which caused her to fly across the room, through the dry wall and into the next room. And again, her hair felt like it was being pulled and hoisted into the air by some unknown assailant.
Every time she’d get smashed through a floor or a roof, somebody again, and again was pulling her hair upwards, lining her up for others to deliver a devastating blow.
Elle grunted and screamed as she was hit over, and over again. Finally, a devastating straight-armed punch from Jen caused the first sign of damage. Her nose cracked, and she could feel the tears well up as the first drop of blood hit the floor.
Before Hiro could hit her again, she hit him. It was a wild punch that caught Hiro in the jaw. His neck twisted and his invulnerable body wobbled before he collapsed onto the floor. Elle angrily pushed out her hand toward Jen who was charging at her, a telekinetic force violently crashed into Jen sending her through several of walls.
Elle could feel as though someone was pulling inside her skull. As if someone was trying to separate her brain stem from her spin. He would have succeeded as well had it not been for her invulnerability. But now she located him. She looked at him angrily through a hole in the wall.
Damos, lacking invulnerability, but being extremely powerful in telekinesis used his gifts from a relatively safe distance. But now they were face to face, he focused on freezing her, making sure that she couldn’t engage him.
Elle struggled to move her arms and legs, and opted for a different strategy. She took in a deep breath and blew as hard as she could. The blast of wind forced Damos to lean forward to fight the wind. Debris began hitting his face, but it wasn’t until an inch of glass struck and stuck into his forehead did he fall backwards and allow the wind to force him into the back wall.
Elle was about to advance in on him when she was struck in the face, before she could see the assailant he was gone, and then she was struck again.
Clicks moved at blinding quick speeds as he continuously hit Element X. Although his hits were no stronger than well trained human boxer, the speed at which they came compounded the impact exponentially.
Elle was beyond furious as every time she’d attempt to get set, or move in on an opponent she’d be hit. Sometime dozens of times in a split second. Clicks would reveal himself briefly, tricking Elle to go for him before he’d disappear and kick her in the ass. He even used her chest as a speed bag delivering hundreds of hits before Elle’s fist got to him, but before it did he was somewhere else. Elle could take his hits, but he was an absolute nuisance.
The first of the DTF agents began to show themselves. Their weapons were rifle like, but the barrels looked more like tubes. An agent fired and the rod which exited out of the slide-hammer blasted out at several times the speed of sound. The Rod missed Elle narrowly, but still had enough centrifugal force to twist her awkwardly.
By the time Elle had a chance to recover, Hiro and Jen were pouncing on her.
While Elle herself had taken severe damage, her clothes were all but destroyed. Another blast from a slide hammer made its way through the wall and toward Elle. In a fortunate stroke of luck, Click was making another pass at her. The force of the rod passing Click caused him to spin wildly and into the wall beside Elle, finally revealing himself.
She waisted no time and didn’t hesitate. Her fist smashed into and then through his face. Elle stood there in shock, as her fist was literally inside Click’s head. The shock subsided as the euphoric essence of his powers and the memories of him using them rushed into her mind.
“NO!” Jen screamed in horror as she punched Elle in the head causing her to fly sideways through a wall and into another suite.
When Elle came to, she could see the rods of the slide-hammers moving through the air. She could see Jen beginning her sprint toward her. If Elle’s shoelaces were untied, she’d have more than enough time to tie them before Jen got there. She smiled and then charged Jen.
Jen was overwhelmed with Elle’s speed. She was punched in the stomach, and as she flew backwards she was kicked in the ass causing her to fly forwards. Her body slammed into the wall and before Jen could even recover Elle through her into the air and delivered a flurry of punches straight into Jen’s nose before she slammed into the ceiling above her.
Hiro approached her from behind, ever so slowly. Elle changed targets, she quickly got in from behind Hiro, hoisted him up by his belt and leg and then launched him into the floor. The building shook violently as Hiro went through every floor and hit the base of the building with a tremendous boom.
Elle turned and looked angrily at Jen. Jen was bleeding from her nose, and her eyes looked as if they were puffy, “Not so cocky any more, are you?” Elle asked
“Ohhh! When I get my hands on you, you are going to suffer so dearly” Jen said fuming with anger and displaying a crazed smile.
Elle smiled and was about to sprint toward Jen when she was suddenly held in place.
Damos had come to, and was back in the fight, he held Elle still long enough for Jen to use her flight abilities to tackle her through the exterior wall, through the air, and into the next building. They smashed into an office building, where Jen maintained her choke hold. “Die you bitch!” she muttered through grinding teeth.
Elle grunted, and squirmed trying to break out of Jen’s hold. They rolled around, smashing objects as if they were clay. Suddenly the room illuminated. Elle was blasted off Jen by Raze. Raze’s hands sparked feverously as twin laser blasted from the palms of his hands and into Element X’s back.
Elle shook, twitched and quaked violently as the deadly beams blasted into her. “Uhhhhhhhhh!!!” She moaned as she turned her body toward her assailant.
“It’s working!” Jen exclaimed, “Burn the Bitch!” With that Jen’s eyes lit up and she fired her own deadly beams. Two searing beams of immolation crashed into Elle’s breasts.
A deep glow encompassed the entirety of Elle’s body. Her nipples began turning bright orange as the heat from her body began melting the paint off the walls next to her. Elle gasped several times, before she began pushing out her breasts as if to embrace the tingle swelling within her breasts.
Both Jen and Ray powered down simultaneously, watching as Elle gasped almost orgasmically. She should be dead, any human walking near her would have spontaneously combusted. Elle’s eyes and ears began to steam.
“What the hell is she?” Raze asked fearfully.
Jen didn’t answer, she watched as Elle’s hands moved to her heaving breasts and as Elle squeezed them her nipples became brighter, and then with a searing hiss, two bright orange beams blasted from Elle’s nipples and shot right into Jen’s chest.
The wicked beams didn’t last long, and Jen didn’t feel a thing nor did they even push her back a step. There was a bright glow on her costume briefly, but that was it. And then something changed. Jen could feel her costume becoming hotter, her body warming quickly. She gasped as she felt the heat encompass her body.
“Wh-Wh-What did you do to me?” Jen asked as she looked down at her body.
Elle truthfully had no idea, she watched in fascination as Jen’s body began to turn red hot.
“AAAAAH!… What did you DO!?!?!” Jen screamed as her skin began to feel uncomfortably hot and then painful. “No, no, no, no!” she whined as she watched her skin peel and melt off her body. Her eyes drooped and her screams became more of a gurgle as even her bones began to melt. Her body, melted into a steamy mess on the floor, all that was left of her was her costume, still intact.
Elle closed her eyes, as she felt Jen’s essence pour into her. The power was overwhelming. Jen was a multi-faceted powerhouse. She had an array of powers, and all of them were now Elle’s. Elle looked at the costume, and pulled it out of Jen’s remains and then began to put it on.
Ray watched in stunned silence as one second Element X was staring at her hands in shock, and in the very next she was dressed in Jens trademark costume. Elle looked at him and was about to say something when she was suddenly attacked.
Elle screamed as a force ripped her through the floor and pinned her to the ground on the floor below. Damos hands quaked as he exerted all the force he could muster trying to squash Element X like a grape. He turned to Raze who was simply staring in dumbfound. “Fight her!”
“No…We have to run!… We have to get out of here!” Raze ran the other way and now Damos knew he had to maintain his hold over her.
Elle’s body began pushing through the next floor, and then she smashed through it. The floor was occupied and this time Elle landed on her feet as Damos floated down to her level and began again looking for vulnerabilities. This time he focused on the heart, if he could just will some of the veins to split from her heart it might be enough.
Elle could feel pain in her chest, and she focused on telekinetically crushing Damos’s head. As the two used their full telekinetic powers against one another. Strange things began happening in the office building. Objects such as cups, staplers became stuck, as if crazy glue’d on the surfaces on which they lay. The people in the office frantically made their way to the doors, but they too were stuck.
Damos, was beginning to tire and as he tired he felt pressure between his temples, he fought back wildly. He screamed as he used all the telekinetic force he could muster. There was a force, directly between the two, which blasted out invisibly like a wave. As the wave passed, people dropped dead as their necks snapped. Even Elle, could feel her neck stiffen, but with the exception of Elle everybody in the office fell dead, including Damos.
She closed her eyes as she felt as Damos’s essence pour into her. The power, compounding and paling to her previous power. It felt delicious.
Someone had lined her up from the next building with a Slide hammer. The bolt that caused discomfort to her when it simply passed, now smacked off the side of her head harmlessly. She walked to the window where she made herself an obvious target. Bolt’s fired at her, and she watched in slow motion as they approached her. Some missing her, some collapsing to her body. She didn’t dodge the bolts, she simply formed her hands to the size and width of the building in front of her. The building where she was originally. Then, as if she was framing a distant object with her hands she scrunched her hands together. The entire frontal side of the 9 story building crumpled like a sheet of paper into a tight ball, crushing every agent in that building, then Elle casually flicked it away causing havoc on the streets. As the tons of debris crashed into another building.
Hiro kicked open the door, and looked at the curved Godly dimensions of Element X in Jen’s ultra-tight suit. “You killed her!”
Elle had seen enough killing for one day, she simply froze Hiro in place with her will. “I think that’s enough for one day, don’t you?”
“I promise you, I’ll find you. I won’t rest until you are brought to justice, or … I kill you”
Elle was deep in her own thoughts, before she turned to Hiro who was still held in place. “Do you know how insignificant you are, compared to me? I’ve heard about your durability, a car trash compactor would over-heat before it caused you any discomfort. Some have suggested, you could even survive a nuke. But, all I’m going to do is pretend you’re just little man. I’m going to pretend that I’ve placed you between my cleavage” Elle looked at Hiro as her hands went to her breasts. “And then I’m just going to squeeze”
Hiro could feel an incredible pressure surround his body. His arms extended as he tried to push outward against the incredible invisible pressures that came down at him. His elbows began to buckle, and he could feel for the first time since Domino’s day, that something was about to break. “Enough! AGH! I give…I GIVE!”
Elle released the pressure and Hiro fell to the ground and onto his knees. “Let’s not ever meet again…hmm?” Elle said to him. And then, as if she’d done it a thousand times before, Elle bent her knees and blasted toward the window, into the air and flew away.
Chapter 11 Aftermath
Rose heard about the wicked fight that occurred downtown and the resulting death toll. There was no word on Element X or her involvement, but Rose knew this was Maria’s fight. Rumors swirled that Jen was killed in the fight, but no body had been positively identified.
Rose confirmed it when she got home, Not Elle, but Maria was sitting on the couch in Jen’s trademark costume. She approached Maria cautiously, “Maria?” she asked. “Are you okay?”
“I killed her, I killed so many. What have I done Rose?” Maria turned to her, her eyes welling up with tears.
Rose wanted to ask her the details, how was it even possible for her to have killed Jen. What exactly happened? But she fought off the temptation to ask and instead she comforted her friend. She hugged her tightly, telling Maria it was going to be okay.
Finally, Maria spilled the beans and revealed everything. From start to finish, Maria told Rose how she attained her powers, or how she grew them. She told her about the euphoric feeling she felt after taking a Domino’s life, how she also killed Lee, her fellow classmate.
Rose listened in astonished silence, she had so many questions. If what Maria was implying were true, then Maria was truly a power house. And despite the fact Rose was genuinely trying to console her friend, Maria sitting there, in Jen’s tailor made invulnerable costume, was quite the turn on.
Maria hugged her friend and was convinced that her only course of action was to leave the city, perhaps the country. Maybe start a new life.
It took a long conversation, but Rose convinced Maria to stay in town. By leaving, Rose argued, she’d give away her secret identity. She’d expose her loved ones. At the end of the day, she could run anytime, but they both agreed, Element X was permanently retired.
72 days later, as if it was timed specifically she started having the pangs, the need to kill a Domino. But with Rose’s help they fought through the worst of it. It took weeks for Maria to get back to normal, she loved her new job. She loved volunteering and she loved helping people. Not as some superhero but as Maria Bojnec, teacher at St. Kevin’s.
Rose and herself moved into a new place, Rose was beyond amazed what Maria could do. Whether it was cleaning the house in seconds flat, or grabbing take out from a place in Italy, Maria was a God trying to be a human.
Chapter 12 The Now
Maria smiled as she sat down on the patio with Ben.
“So?” Ben said
“Soooo?” Maria replied as if to acknowledge the awkwardness.
“Weird, isn’t it?” Ben said with a smile “Running into each other like this.”
“It is” Maria agreed. There was a moment of silence, “You know, I used to have such a crush on you”
Ben smiled, “I can’t deny I didn’t feel the same. I guess what might have been … right?”
“Yeah, What might have been if I hadn’t …”
“Don’t torture yourself, Becky was a supreme bitch, with supreme powers. If it wasn’t you, it would have been someone else. So, you went into teaching!?” Ben said trying to change the subject.
After a brief pause Maria replied “Yeah, I’ve always loved working with children. What about you? I thought you’d have been playing for the New York Devils by now”
Ben smiled, “New York Giants is the football team and the Devils…Nevermind, I guess it doesn’t matter. I twisted my knee late in the season, or maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Either way, here I am. To be honest, I never thought I’d be a teacher.”
Ben heard a whipping sound, a bullet struck the back of Maria’s head and then rebounded off the concrete and hit part of the metal table causing it to ding like a bell. “What was that?” Ben asked.
Maria turned her body to look behind her, showing Ben a side profile of her perfect body. She looked back at Ben “I’ll be right back” She said with a polite smile.
Winston looked down at his target as she looked up at him. The long rifle with the silencer attached in Winston’s hands began to bend as if it were a piece of rope. It wrapped around his hands and then Maria appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.
“Blender” She said in dismay.
“Actually, I prefer Winston”
“You must know a bullet can’t hurt me”
“I do, but the powers that be, were not entirely satisfied that Maria Bojnec is in fact Element X”
Maria sighed “I’ve changed my life, I haven’t done anything since …”
Hiro walked into the room, he was in his traditional costume, but now Maria had no problem recognizing him “Harry Chim, I should have known”
“Maria Bojnec, you are under arrest”
Maria closed her eyes “We did this before, I don’t want to do it again”
“Maria this time we brought the heavy. You’ve heard of Eve?.”
A short Philippino girl walked into the room, “So, this who you’ve all been afraid of” she said with a smirk.
Superior, Diesel and Quantica, walked in soon after. All of them, internationally known Dominoes. All of them more powerful than anything she had faced before. While the foreign heroes showed no fear of Maria. Hiro couldn’t say the same, he certainly feared and respected her, he approached her nervously. “You can’t win them all, sooner or later you’ll lose” Hiro pleaded with her.
“I don’t want to fight you” Maria pleaded.
“Then don’t” Hiro insisted. “We can work through this, it doesn’t have to end this way.”
Maria looked at all their faces, they all looked stern and seriousness, all except Eve who smiled and then winked at her.
Ben waited for a while and then checked the time as he took a sip from his beer wondering where Maria went. He thought of things to say to her when she returned but his thoughts were interrupted by the newly installed air raid sirens which boomed the ominous escalating tone.
Written by DKC
The List Provided by FATS
Aeroplane → The museum where Rose meets Roy
Blender → An AI intended to bring in Elle peacefully
Bra → Maria busts out of during transformation
Dominoes-→ What superheroes are called
Element X ->Marias alias AKA Elle
Mall → Where Maria hangs out with her friends from school
Pie --→Proximity Induced Exchanger
Rose -→ friend
Slide Hammer--→ A new weapon designed to take down gifted individuals.
Teacher → Maria’s occupation
and your power is
Eve wearily opened her eyes, she was strapped to a metal table with an IV tube sticking in her harm. She looked like she was in a basement of some sort. There was a device the tube was connected to, and from that device, tubes were inserted into another woman.
She looked at her arm again, how was it possible for a needle to have penetrated her skin. She began to panic as she watched the other woman open her eyes and sit up.
“Good, your awake” she said to her.
“What happened? how long have I been out?”
“What happened, is that you ladies caused quite the mess. It was just sheer stroke of luck that I found you before anyone else”
“Did we win?”
“Oh, I’m quite certain, nobody won. Well, except me of course”
“What? I have to go, I need to get back to my people”
“Well then, I guess you should go”
Eve pulled her arms up, but they were attached to chains which led to the basement floor and were connected to thousands of pounds of weights. Eve pulled her arms up and the weights lifted. At first the chain seemed easy to lift, but then they become harder and harder. The device next to Eve began spinning like mad.
The woman standing next to her closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling spreading from her chest and through the rest of her body.
Eve was getting angry and so she pulled the chains as hard as she could.
Doctor Rickard gasped and her chest glowed beneath her white lab coat. “Oh my! That was quite the sensation.”
Eve could now tell the weights were too much for her, too heavy, “Release me! Now!”
The Doctor recovered from the intense feeling and looked at Eve, “Or else what?”
“Or else this!” Eve’s eyes lit up and she blasted her heat vision into the Doctor’s chest.
The doctor seemed unfazed by the attack as the beams all but managed to burn her lab coat and reveal her chest. She blinked quickly and then a deep glow began emanating from her eyes. She took in a deep breath as she felt the power within her.
Eve squinted and strained her eyes, but the powers that so regularly snapped to her command were all but gone. “What have you done!?”
Doctor Rickard smiled, “I’ve relieved you of your burden”
“Let me go!”
Doctor Rickard smiled, “Your free to go.” Doctor Rickard’s eyes lit up and the chains holding Eve down were burned off.
Eve looked nervously at Doctor Rickard. And then waisted no time, she blasted into the air and into the ceiling with a loud crack before falling to the ground dead.
Doctor Rickard closed her eyes, as she enjoyed the new sensation spreading through, the ability of flight. She walked toward a brief case and then opened it. She stared at the S symbol of the costume, which was designed to increase a Domino’s powers 10fold. Superwoman had always been her Ex’s favorite fictional character. She couldn’t help but smile thinking, ‘wait till he gets a load of me’.